Brought to You by Lush Experiences

“Brought to You By Lush Experiences”

Vol. XLIII – February 23, 2021

Travel News

  1. Travel Agent Central: Leisure and Hospitality Accounts for 39% of Jobs Lost to Pandemic – Full Article
  2. Forbes: U.S. Travel Ban: EU Told to Find a Way to Open Borders to Americans or Lose Billions in 2021 – Full Article
  3. The Atlantic: Covid-19 Cases are Dropping Fast. Why? Four reasons: Social Distancing, Seasonality, and Shots. – Full Article

Best Practices

  • How the Maldives became the biggest 2020 international tourism success story. The Maldives, an Indian Ocean island practically synonymous with romance, normally sees north of 1.7 million visitors per year. In 2020, it had around 500,000. And despite the significant decrease, it marks one of the most successful tourism stories amid the pandemic. While many other destinations slammed their borders closed, the Maldives chose to fully reopen to travelers from any country, regardless of the status of the virus there, in July 2020. The country’s geography also lends itself well to coronavirus protocols. Many hotels and resorts are on their own private islands – there are more than a thousand to choose from, which makes isolating and social distancing exceptionally easy. Understandably there were some hiccups, and they are now requiring all travelers to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival. The Maldives heavy reliance on ultra-luxury resorts also worked in its favor when it came to testing and social distancing. For example, high-end properties conduct additional in-resort Covid testing as an added layer of protection against the spread of the virus.
  • Crystal Will Require All Guests to be Vaccinated Before Sailing. Crystal has updated its health and safety protocols to now require all guests to be fully inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to their Crystal cruise. Guests will need to provide proof of vaccination before embarkation and must have received both doses of the vaccine if recommend by the manufacturer by that timeline.
  • El Palace Hotel Barcelona is Sailing. Discover the city and its surrounding area from the comfort of a private sailboat. For your sail through the pristine Mediterranean waters along the Catalan coast, guests can choose the two-hour experience, sailing around the coast of Barcelona, or a full-day excursion, sailing to Sitges, a beautiful old town whose ancient city walls and beaches are steeped in history and which is backed by the mountainous Garraf Natural Park. El Palace Barcelona’s concierge team will organize every detail to ensure a smooth sailing experience from arrival to departure.
  • From a Travel Advisor in the US this Week after our Open Forum on Spain Collection:Thank you for a wonderful Spain and Portugal webinar. Great info to share with clients who want a truly authentic and traditional experience.” – Full Video
  • Lush Experiences is in the process of planning a Lush Travel Trivia Night with advisors as a way to connect yet not make it feel like just work for them. We are in the process of crafting this idea, and will certainly be reaching out to feature all of our members.

…On a Positive Note

  • CNN: Countries Welcoming Vaccinated Travelers – Full Article
  • Wall Street Journal: Pfizer Shot is Highly Effective After One Dose – Full Article
  • Wall Street Journal: We’ll Have Heard Immunity by April – Full Article

“Right now, travel is picking up a lot… I’ve been working most of the day… Clients are booking Europe for September … I am still holding a few bookings for the Summer in Europe. Caribbean is on top of the list and clients are afraid to wait, so we are seeing more and more inquires for the Holiday Season.”  Quote from a top Travel Advisor in the Miami-Dade area

“Brought to You By Lush Experiences”

Vol. XLII – February 17, 2021

Travel News

  1. Travel Pulse: White House denies considering new domestic air travel restrictions. – Full Article
  2. Travel Agent Central: Half of Americans are optimistic about travel in 2021. – Full Article
  3. Travel Weekly: An expanding drive market for golfers looking for socially distanced diversion has helped the sport grow domestically over the course of the pandemic, and all signs point to international destination golf trips will be a large trend moving forward. – Full Article
  4. Travel Pulse: Covid-19 Related Tourism Industry Losses in 2020 Topped $750 billion. – Full Article
  5. Luxury Travel Advisor: Delta announced it is continuing its commitment to provide more space on board, blocking middle seats and limiting capacity on all flights departing through April 30, 2021. – Full Article

Best Practices

  • The Turks & Caicos Islands Tourist Board has announced that the destination has increased its COVID-19 testing facilities in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention new order. The CDC’s updated requirements, which went into effect on January 26, mandates all air passengers arriving to the United States from a foreign country must be tested no more than three days prior to entry to the U.S. and present negative results prior to boarding their flights. All travelers to Turks and Caicos now have the option of getting tested at any of 12 different locations across three islands, many of which are located on-site at resorts for enhanced ease and accessibility. – Full Article
  • Hawaii will partner with Clear to Seamlessly Integrate Travelers’s Covid-19 Test Results. Starting February 18, travelers on select United and Delta flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport will test a new program, which allows them to register and carry their negative COVID-19 test results via Clear’s Health Pass app. The integrated app capability is born out of a new partnership between the state of Hawaii and biometric ID platform Clear with the aim of creating a more seamless experience for those visiting the islands through Hawaii’s ‘Safe Travels’ pre-testing program, which allows arrivals to skip the standard 10-day quarantine requirement by presenting negative COVID-19 results from a test taken within 72 hours of travel.

…On a Positive Note

Etihad Airways has become the World’s First Airline to Vaccinate All Crew Members

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the U.A.E., became the first airline in the world to vaccinate a 100% of its onboard crewmembers. The airline has vaccinated all of it’s onboard crew members through the airline’s “Protected Together” initiative, which began in 2021. Seventy-five percent of all its employees have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The initiative encourages employees and their loved ones to get vaccinated, providing honest information and talks with doctors to help answer any questions they may have as well as mobile vaccination clinics. Under this initiative, the Etihad Airways Medical Center became and accredited vaccination clinic.

The initiative was crated after the United Arab Emirates launched its Choose to Vaccinate campaign, with a goal to vaccinate half of the country’s population by March 2021. Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of COVID-19 but to make travelers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us. We are the only airline in the world to make COVID-19 testing mandatory for every passenger and crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100% vaccinated crew on board.”

Etihad Airways has put itself on the forefront of health and safety measures since the beginning of the pandemic; in January, it was awarded Diamond status for cleanliness and sanitation in the “APEX Health Safety, powered by SimpliFlying ” audit. It also began working with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on testing out the IATA Travel Pass, a mobile app that logs COVID-19 test results and vaccination information.

“Brought to You By Lush Experiences”

Vol. XLI – February 9, 2021

Travel News

  1. CNBC: Dr. Fauci says it’s important to wear a mask even after getting the Covid Vaccine. – Read More
  2. CNBC: Airlines, labor unions push for a third round of federal aid with travel demand still depressed. – Read More
  3. CNN: Mask violators face $250 fine, up to $1,500 for repeat offenders. – Read More
  4. The Atlantic: The pandemic is heading toward a strange in-between time, with Americans planning it’s end by the fall, but what happens in-between? – Read More
  5. The Telegraph: New Israeli COVID drug which cured 30 cases of disease hailed by scientists as “huge breakthrough”. – Read More

Best Practices

With borders open throughout the Caribbean and Mexico, most with specific guidelines in place, Resorts are eager to invite those who are interested in traveling to experience their Resorts.  Providing valuable information for you and your clients is key to their very survival.  Some of our very own Members have created elegant and personal ways to showcase their protocols and ambience to top advisors by inviting them to experience this first hand with the ultimate goal of sharing this with their clients who are considering a vacation now.  For example, Le Blanc Spa Resorts sent personalized plush bath robes and hand written personal invitations to a select list of Lush Experiences Insider members, inviting them to visit their luxury version of all-adult, all-inclusive Resorts in Cancun or Los Cabos. Meanwhile, in the Caribbean, The Palms and The Shore Club on Turks & Caicos, following their inspiring Ambassador of Hope message personally welcomed select advisors who were who came with a promise to spread the message of a safe travel experience to their colleagues and clients.  Both programs were hugely successful with well over 50 luxury travel advisors taking this opportunity to experience these beautiful resorts!

…On a Positive Note

Vaccine Travel News and a Photo Essay That Taps into What We Love (and Miss) About the World

by Wendy Perrin

This weekend we’re feeling inspired by a few positive developments: Iceland, Romania, Poland, Estonia, and Cyprus are now allowing vaccinated travelers to bypass quarantine. These countries are not yet open to U.S. travelers, but it’s a sign of good things to come, as more people get vaccinated and more nations and states adapt their entry requirements accordingly. The country of Georgia is now open to vaccinated Americans (wine tasting in Tbilisi, anyone?) with no quarantine. The Seychelles – those islands off East Africa with ideal beaches – are too, although you still need to show a negative Covid test. Closer to home, some states have a testing requirement for vaccinated travelers (e.g., Alaska), whereas some don’t (e.g., New Hampshire). We’re keeping track of all these changes for you in this weekly newsletter and in our Covid-19 travel intel section.

Vol. XL – February 2, 2021

Travel News

  1. NY Times: The C.D.C. has issued an order requiring travelers in the United States to wear masks in all transportation hubs. – Read More
  2. Washington Post: Government and Tourism officials speak out against mandatory vaccinations for international travel though for very different reasons. – Read More
  3. The Points Guy: All international arrivals into the U.S. are now required proof of negative COVID-19 test, with White House actively looking at mandating negative tests for domestic travel as well. – Read More
  4. Wavy.com: The TSA announced that passengers at airports and on public transportation will be required to wear a face mask. – Read More
  5. Raw Story: President Biden will re-impose COVID-19 travel bans on most non-US citizens who have been to Britain, Brazil, Ireland and much of Europe. – Read More

Best Practices

With the United States has announcing that they will require a negative virus test from all international passengers arriving by air two weeks ago with the hope that combined with preventive practices, that testing will lead to a major reduction in the spread of the virus on planes, airports and in the destinations. The new policy requires all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, to get a test for current infection within the three days before their flight to the United States departs, and to provide written documentation of their test results or proof of having recovered from Covid-19.

Many resorts with borders open to US travelers have already begun taking the necessary steps to plan for these new protocols and ensuring that the process is as seamless as possible for guests.  Agencies like Embark have launched programs enabling clients to get in-room testing before they return home. In the Caribbean and Mexico, many resorts have facilitated on-site complimentary rapid testing initiatives for all guests to ensure a smooth departure process. They have also prepared for when a positive case arises with varying solutions including complimentary stays at the resort paid for by themselves or through governmental travel insurance. Two such examples of these comprehensive protocols come from Le Blanc Spa Resorts in Cancun and Los Cabos, and Eden Roc Cap Cana.

…On a Positive Note

Survey Finds Americans Willing to Travel Internationally Even with Covid-19 Testing

by James Shillinglaw

Following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s announcement requiring all U.S. citizens and international visitors to the U.S. receive a negative COVID-19 test prior to reentry, initial reports show U.S. travelers still have a willingness to travel internationally and are taking additional steps to prepare rather than canceling travel altogether.

A survey by Squaremouth.com, the travel insurance comparison website, found that a majority of trips are still being booked for international destinations, travelers are insuring and spending more on cancellation coverage for international trips, and travelers are booking farther out. Indeed, more than 70 percent of bookings made after the CDC’s announcement are still for international destinations.

“We expected to see an immediate shift to domestic travel and a drop in international bookings, due to the added complication of coordinating a COVID test abroad, but that hasn’t been the case,” says Squaremouth.com Chief Marketing Officer Megan Moncrief.

The survey also found travelers are insuring and spending more on cancellation coverage for international trips. Travelers are insuring about $1,000 more per trip. There has been a 42 percent spike in Cancel For Any Reason policy purchases. Travelers are spending 31 percent more on insurance. With a price tag that can be 40 percent higher than a standard cancellation policy, the Cancel For Any Reason benefit allows travelers to cancel their trip for a reason not otherwise covered by their policy and receive a partial refund.

Squaremouth.com says the reason for the upgrade is clear: With constant changes to travel requirements, including negative COVID tests and quarantine restrictions, travelers want the ability to opt-out of their trip, no questions asked. The survey also found U.S. travelers are insuring their international trips 24 percent sooner than previously in the pandemic. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Squaremouth.com saw a trend of last-minute bookings overtake far planned out trips, attributing this to a general uncertainty around travel, changing quarantine requirements, and a newfound remote work flexibility. Squaremouth.com now reports U.S. residents who have an increasing thirst for travel are simply preparing more.

This data in this report is based on travel insurance policies purchased through Squaremouth.com, comparing sales trends in the immediate two-week period following the CDC’s announcement of a negative COVID test requirement for reentry to the two-week period prior to the announcement. Squaremouth.com compared data from thousands of policies in identifying these trends. Squaremouth.com created the Coronavirus Pandemic Current Event Center which is updated daily with available travel insurance coverage and answers to FAQs as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

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